A US lawmaker from Texas has apologized after making anti-Semitic comments at a hearing of the Joint Legislative Committee on Windstorm Insurance.
According to reports, Republican state representative Larry Taylor used the phrase "don’t try to Jew them down," in reference to insurance payments for victims of the Katrina Hurricane. Immediately after making the comment, Taylor said "that’s probably a bad term." He later apologized publicly.
In a letter written shortly after his remarks, Taylor wrote: "At a legislative oversight committee hearing today, I inadvertently used a phrase that many people find offensive. I corrected myself immediately when I realized what I had said. I regret my poor choice of words and sincerely apologize for any harm they may have caused."
'Age-old anti-Semitic stereotype'
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) slammed Taylor's remarks, and sent him a stern letter in which it denounced the act.
Shortly after, Taylor issued another apology letter addressed to the pro-Israel organization, in which he stated: "Anti-Semitism and intolerance have no place in our society and in our government. I understand the impact of my comments and am deeply sorry for the message that was sent. I have a deep respect for the Jewish people and their history, and hope to work to strengthen that relationship in the future."
ADL Southwest Region Associate Director Dena Marks responded to Taylor's apology, noting that "Representative Taylor called us this morning and told us he made a mistake yesterday and did not mean to offend anyone. He also sent us a letter so that we would have his apology in writing.
"After our conversation with Representative Taylor, we believe he understands that the phrase 'Jew them down' comes from an age-old anti-Semitic stereotype, that he realizes it offends people, that he won't use it again. We recognize and appreciate he took quick action to correct himself and apologize."
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